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US Shuts Down Canadian Gambling Site With Verisign's Help 354

First time accepted submitter ausrob writes "Domain seizures are nothing new, but this particular case is interesting. The Department of Homeland Security has seized a domain name registered outside of the U.S., by individuals who are not American citizens, and who registered with a Canadian registrar. From the article: 'The ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc needs to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of U.S. federal and state lawmakers (not exactly known their cluefulness nor even-handedness, especially with regard to matters of the internet).'"
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US Shuts Down Canadian Gambling Site With Verisign's Help

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  • by mauriceh ( 3721 ) <maurice&harddata,com> on Thursday March 01, 2012 @09:36AM (#39207377) Homepage

    In the old days of commerce by ships, they labelled this kind of behaviour as "Piracy on the high seas"

    The punishment was generally hanging, I understand.

  • by JosKarith ( 757063 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @09:49AM (#39207475)
    So if I set up a website and someone in a US state spends money on it then it automatically comes under the jurisdiction of that state? No matter where it's hosted? Wow - that's an insane level of power grab.
  • by hawleyg ( 803592 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @09:49AM (#39207477)
    Could you cite your source that .com is only for US? I've certainly never perceived that way.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @09:50AM (#39207487) Homepage

    "federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country,"

    Newsflash - a company registered outside the US and not doing business in the US is not bound by ANY type of US law, federal or otherwise. Perhaps someone should remind the US authorities that they don't run the world just yet.

    They probably only did this because they think canada is a soft touch. I'd like to see them try it with a chinese or russian company.

  • by sohmc ( 595388 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @09:51AM (#39207495) Journal
    A source link in TFA goes to the actual warrant []. The way it reads, a Maryland detective in addition to a DHS task force "officer", have a warrant to retrieve property, in this case "the Internet domain name".

    I haven't read my TOS when I registered my domain, but I believe that the domains belong to me and don't belong to the registrar. The warrant makes it sound like the domain belongs to Verisign. I am not a lawyer and I'm probably reading this incorrectly.

    I have many questions regarding this, namely WTF is a local detective involved in this case. What was his role? Was there some sort of crime in Maryland (specifically Anne Arundel County) that started this investigation?
  • Re:United Nations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Whibla ( 210729 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @10:00AM (#39207591)

    I can really see the US/UK agreeing to any demands to remove all articles about Tiananmen Square, or removal of all criticisms of any or all religions. (/sarcasm)

    What is more likely to happen is that the west will veto most if not all proposals originating in the east and the middle east, and Russia and the east will veto most if not all proposals originating in the west (excuse the culturally biased geographic descriptions), and the system will be happily paralysed, resulting in no change to the current status quo. To my mind this is infinitely preferable to a system which can be destroyed, or at least greatly harmed, by unilateral action on the part of any bully-boy nation.

    I'm not sure the UN taking over the internet is the right answer, but I am absolutely sure that leaving things the way they are is the wrong one. The article gives one good reason why...

  • by automandc ( 196618 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @10:09AM (#39207715)

    What is scary here is the cooperation of Verisign. In this case, Verisign maintains the registry for .com. But Verisign also still operates the 0 Root servers under contract to the Dept. of Commerce. So, if they wanted to (or were ordered to by the U.S. Govt) they could "technically" take out an entire TLD, including a ccTLD like .ru or .cn.

    "Technically" is in quotes because the realities of the root servers would make it easy for the rest of the world to tell the U.S. to go screw at that point, and stop syncing the dozens of root servers that are distributed around the world off of the Verisign "corrupted" servers. However, it would be the end of the canonical DNS system as we know it.

    AFAIK, the engineers at Verisign who handle root server issues try very very hard to stay out of any type of corporate shenanigans, but at the end of the day Verisign operates those servers, and Verisign is a U.S. Company, on U.S. soil, with executives who are very much subject to the immediate coercion of the U.S. Government.

  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @10:23AM (#39207945) Homepage

    You know, when I first saw the web circa 1994 or something I actually mumbled to myself, "Wow, this is just too cool; they totally can't allow this to continue". If anything, I'm a bit surprised it remained free & open for almost 20 years.

  • legalities (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2012 @10:39AM (#39208179)

    If you host the domain name in Ontario Canada
    It is considered property due to a recent ruling by the Ontario supreme court , one might argue that this site is legal in Canada and might get A similar judgement as long as it was hosted in canada.

    NOW all we have to do is start a class action lawsuit and then take a trade suit to the WTO and get sanctions against the usa.
    The last time this happened an entire nation was allowed free patents and copyrights when the USA lost.

    DO not kid yourselves here...THIS IS GONNA NOW START GETTING REALLY UGLY.

  • Re:United Nations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tao ( 10867 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @10:53AM (#39208359) Homepage
    ACTA isn't a treaty that has its origin in the UN (or any other forum where there's more than one party with veto). The ACTA is a trade "agreement" dictated by the US. It's pretty much a case of "If you want to be able to trade with us, you better sign this, or we'll impose tariffs on you". If you check out who the signatory nations are, you'll notice that Russia, China, etc. aren't part of the agreement. Why? Because the US doesn't have enough leverage on them.
  • by AGMW ( 594303 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @11:26AM (#39208775) Homepage

    The quickest and best way for us non-USians to protect ourselves is simply to disallow all connections coming from the US to our websites.

    Possibly that might be the sensible thing to do, 'cos next time you land in the US you could find yourself arrested, but as other posters have said, it's not OUR fault the US has stupid laws and it's certainly not up to us to police them.

    If I have a non-US gambling website and someone from the US wants to come spend their $$$'s then I say good luck to 'em 'cos it's none of my business where you are as long as what we're doing is legal where I am! It's the US citizen that's broken the law, not the website.

    Really getting fed up with the US continually forgetting they're just ONE COUNTRY amongst many. You want to make online gambling illegal - go right ahead! Make Intelligent Design part of the science curriculum ... fill ya boots! Legislate Pi = 3 ... whatever! Just don't think you can bully the rest of the World into doing it too!

    ... and Rest Of The World: Wake UP and grow a pair! Tell the US to take a hike!

This restaurant was advertising breakfast any time. So I ordered french toast in the renaissance. - Steven Wright, comedian